March is shaping up to be a busy one

As I mentioned in the previous post, this year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” I love this because I love food! I enjoy cooking and baking as well. Since January I’ve been trying hard to plan out our meals (primarily dinner) on a weekly basis. I’ll plan Saturday or Sunday, we’ll go grocery shopping for exactly what we need, and then if I need to make something ahead of time I’ll spend Sunday afternoon/evening doing so (like if we want soup for lunch during the week). That being said, we did the planning and shopping last night. While in the store I came across something I could not pass up. Paczki! I get it – it’s just a donut. But I’m Polish and I grew up eating packzi when Lent came around. Considering I don’t make it a habit to eat donuts everyday, I went ahead and bought a pack. Bavarian crème of course Smile My husband and I bought immediately ate one when we got home last night and then had the other two for breakfast this morning.

paczkipaczki2

Everything in moderation, right?

The rest of my Sunday was primarily dedicated to all the fitness challenges I signed myself up for. Currently I’m in training for my first half-marathon (!!!) which the only difficulty I’m having so far is fitting in my workouts. It’s great to be on a training schedule though because it forces me to workout when I get home from work rather than just eat dinner, watch tv, and go to bed. (Hey don’t judge. Sometimes those 12 hour work days really just drain everything out of me). Anyway Sundays are my “long run” days and 5 miles were scheduled for today. Prior to heading out, I had a more substantial and nutritious meal: whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter and a banana. Oh yea, and cinnamon. Always have to have cinnamon. It’s simple, filling, and provides a good amount of energy for a longer workout.

banatoast

My Garmin was not cooperating very well today but nonetheless I did my 5 (+ a bit) miles in just over an hour. I looped around the outskirts of the Arlington Cemetary, made my way through the Georgetown Waterfront and headed home. It was 50 degrees but cloudy and windy and halfway through it started raining. Despite the elements, I felt great when I got done.

My other challenges for the month are the #BackbendMadness2014 challenge on Instagram. Today was cobra pose – pretty easy. I’m not a hardcore yogi so this is good for me! My last challenge is a wall sit challenge initiated by some fellow AXiD alums in the area. We started off with just 10 seconds yesterday and 20 seconds today. By the end of the month we’ll be up around 5 minutes!

#backbendmadness2014 wallsit

Suffice to say, today was pretty laid back. We just finished up our first planned dinner of the week – Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya with Brown Rice – and leftover are packed up for lunch tomorrow. 

I’ll leave on an exciting note. I opened up my latest issue of Food & Nutrition magazine (it comes through my membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and I saw one of my tweets had been published! I’m pretty happy about that Open-mouthed smile

mag

 

How do you plan on celebrating National Nutrition Month?

Do you do weekly meal planning?

What did you do to stay active this weekend?

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

It’s been almost a year since I have posted anything and for all intensive purposes, I pretty much had decided to shut down the blog. But with National Nutrition Month starting tomorrow, I felt a burst of inspiration.

The theme this year is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” (See the logo to the right???) I plan on doing just that. Most posts will probably be more diary style than based on a specific topic but we’ll see how things progress and what time allows.

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? What does “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” mean to you?

An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health – The Rest of the Story

I’m going to briefly wrap this up because the course is closing and I won’t be able to go back and review the material for much longer.

Week 2 discussed food systems and food security. For those of you that don’t know food security is defined as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life” according to WHO. Being food secure depends on availability, access, and also appropriate use.

Here you can read the American Public Health Association’s Policy Statement on a Healthy, Sustainable Food System.

Week 3 covered public health considerations of our current industrialized food animal production system. I encourage you to read this paper on US meat production. It covers not only why our system currently is the way it is but also leads into the consequences on public health, environmental risks, animal welfare, and rural America. 

Week 4 explained the Farm Bill, which in actuality is much more than just a farm bill. It encompasses so much more including SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) previously known as food stamps, as well as conservation programs, research, the agricultural disaster relief fund (remember when tons of farms along the Mississippi were flooded?). The list goes on and on.

Week 5 explored alternative approaches to food production and highlighted some great videos that I will share with you. The first is called Out to Pasture and the second is a series of two on The Future of Agriculture (Part 1, Part 2). As you can imagine organic farming was a focus here.

Lastly, week 6 wrapped up with movements towards better health and a better food system. If you haven’t heard of the Meatless Monday campaign already I’d be surprised. Take a look at their website. Basically this explores the benefits on personal health with going meatless 1 day a week as well as a collaborative effect this can have on the environment.  Other “mondays” have even sprung up and are now collectively titled “The Monday Campaigns”, including “Move it Monday” to focus on physical activity, “Quit and Stay Quit Monday” to help those trying to quit smoking, and even “Man up Monday” for men’s health!

So take a look at all of the resources I’ve provided. It’s not nearly as complete as the course but I hope it enlightens you to a little bit of what I was able to get out of the class.

Now I’m going to sign up for another – Economic Issues, Food, and You! I feel like it will give me a lot to take back to the low-income parents of our Head Start program.

Signing off now – hope everyone had a great National Nutrition Month!

—-Christina Molinski, MS, RD

An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health – PART 1

I don’t even remember where I stumbled upon the information but somehow I found the link to a system of free online classes called Coursera and more specifically, I found the link for a course offered by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.  The 6-week course was taught by faculty and staff from the Center for a Livable Future.

In the next couple of posts I will briefly review some of the valuable information I obtained throughout the course.  I will also link many of the resources they provided.

Week 1: Diet, Food Production, Public Health, and the Environment

In our introductory lecture, we learned that out of the almost 7 billion people in the world, approximately 1 million of those people are undernourished.  For a brief visual of the world’s hunger problem, visit here.  I also need to point out that there are people who are hungry, undernourished, and overweight. It’s possible when you live in a world where maybe you are working two minimum wage jobs just to pay the rent, fast food is cheaper (and faster) than fruits and vegetables, and you have no idea when your next meal is going to even be.

We learned that we are using up our resources faster than they can be replenished.  This is coined as living above biocapacity.  Did you know that in fact agriculture accounts for 70% of water usage worldwide? And that nearly ¾ of the land used for food production is actually used for solely for producing meat? Or that red meat (cattle and hogs) produces more greenhouse emissions than any other food group?  How about this statistic: If everyone ate a primarily plant based diet (I’m not saying completely meat free, just less meat than we do now) we would have enough food to the feed everyone in the world, plus some.

This week’s lectures really opened your eyes to the pitfalls of food production.  Why does anyone think it is a good idea to plant corn on 96 million acres of US soil and other vegetables and fruits on only 10 million? Especially given the fact that the majority of that corn is then being fed to our livestock (another fun fact – they are not designed to eat corn, that’s just one of the things we give them to fatten them up faster so they can get more meat to market).

We also had the opportunity to partake in an Ecological Footprint Exercise which you can take by clicking here. When I completed it, I was only a little surprised at my results. My lifestyle as it was in January required about 4.1 Earths. Since then, I have decided to go vegan (for Lent) to see how it would affect my results. Taking the quiz after changing just that one thing resulted in 3.6 Earths. What are your results?

Stay tuned for more from weeks 2 – 6.

A Temporary Hiatus

It’s been several months since I’ve posted something new. Honestly, I got engaged and completely wrapped up in the wedding – browsing Pinterest and Etsy for ideas, probably wasting precious hours.  And if I’m going to be completely honest here, I just didn’t feel like sitting down and writing anything. I haven’t even submitted an article to TheGoodCalorie.com since November! But I know I’m just being lazy, and using the wedding planning as an excuse.

So now I have some good news but I’m going to wait until it’s officially official before I share it. It does mean though that I need to keep up with my writing. No more slacking off. From now on, be on the lookout for more frequent posts and feel free to send idea submissions to me on the Facebook page if there is anything you would like to know about specifically.

On that note – Make sure you wear RED today! It’s National Wear Red day and the start of American Heart Month!

AHA

 

Food Day 2.0

 

 

 

 

 

Today, Wednesday, October 24 is National Food Day.  If anyone was paying attention, exactly one week ago was World Food Day which is a day renowned by beauty queens as the day to end world hunger. But in all seriousness, it is an issue and the Center for Science in the Public Interest took it a step further to come up with our own National Food Day to further develop its importance.

Food Day focuses on 5 core priorities:

  1. Promote safer, healthier diets
  2. Support sustainable and organic farms
  3. Reduce hunger
  4. Reform factory farms to protect the environment and animals
  5. Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers

So you see it is much more than just ending world hunger. It’s about improving the system as a whole.  To put it in a nutshell:

“Food Day is a nationwide celebration
and a movement for healthy,
affordable, and sustainable food.”

So what can you do on this day of celebration? Well, we are having a healthy potluck at work today for one.  But there are all sorts of things you could come up with.

  • Have a dinner party. Focus on healthier foods. Discuss where the food came from and how it got to your table.
  • Watch a food industry related movie. Try Food Inc., Fresh, King Corn, Super Size Me, Weight of the Nation, Fast Food Nation, etc.
  • Check out a Farmer’s Market in your area.
  • Take a cooking class.

There are all sorts of things you can do to promote Food Day in your life and in others.  Check out www.FoodDay.org for more information and ideas, even recipes!

 

—Christina Molinski, MS, RD—

The Power of Plants

This article was published on ScienceDaily two days ago (ScienceDaily is a website that publishes the latest research in all types of areas but I specifically look at the nutrition section).  The title of said article is “Plant-based diets can remedy chronic diseases.”  Sounds like old news to me really – which is exactly what is stated in the opening paragraph.

“Research studies have long indicated that a high consumption of plant foods is associated with lower incidents of chronic disease”

See that keyword I’ve highlighted? LONG. We have known for a long time that a diet high in plant foods (say hello to my good friends Fruits and Veggies) are good for you. So good for you in fact that they can prevent many of the diseases that afflict most Americans at too young of an age. Say goodbye to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, even cancer.  Prevention of these is one of the things I’m focusing on in my career as a dietitian.  I have said since the beginning that I want to help people BEFORE they are sick. Who wants to be sick anyway?  So why then are we still not eating as much of these disease fighting foods? Data from 2005 found that ~32.6% of the U.S. adults consume fruit two or more times per day, and ~27.2% ate vegetables three or more times per day. Seriously? Less than a third of our population is eating the recommended 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. And that is the low end of the recommendation!

So as the holiday season approaches and we are invited to those parties with lots of delicious goodies, I challenge you to this; For every cookie, donut, brownie, whatever your vice – Eat 1 more serving of a fruit or vegetable.

Oh and please don’t tell me that it is too expensive to eat healthy. Yes I do realize that fresh foods may be a little pricier at the grocery store but I can tell you it’s going to cost a whole heck of a lot more in the long run if you end up with one of the aforementioned chronic diseases.

—Christina Molinski, MS, RD—

References:

ScienceDaily. Plant-based diets can remedy chronic diseases. October 17, 2012. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121017131546.htm

HM Blanck et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption among adults – United States, 2005. MMWR. March 2007. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5610a2.htm